love, lovely things, things I love

…Anthony Bourdain…

I drew this years ago, back when I first discovered Anthony Bourdain… I was playing around, finger painting in photoshop…

I discovered him about two or three years after I started cooking on my own. I’m grateful it happened that way – it was sort of like finding a mentor, a cool big brother, the ‘Fonz’ of the culinary world, just as I was in the midst of considering a career change and becoming a chef myself… His book, Kitchen Confidential, talked me completely out of it, but also completely into it…. I never became one – a chef that is – though I went off on a wild tangent of working at butcher shop on weekends and when my schedule allowed; roasting whole pigs for the neighborhood and catered events, all with no purpose other than to gather people and listen to their laughter and conversation after it was all served up. I always loved knowing in the back of my mind that I was not the least bit crazy for finding love in that endeavor. Food is a powerful thing. Making food is even more powerful. Making the ingredients that become food is the realm of ultimate creative power. It is the most unheralded thing of all. It makes you feel as if you’ve touched God, and few people can see it outside of a neurotic exercise, a rare and odd case of OCD… Yet, some do.

My love for Anthony Bourdain endured for another reason; he was never in it for some deal to endorse pots and pans or spatulas or whisks. You’d never find his face replacing George Foreman on a shitty table top sandwich press, sold at Kmart… He remained utterly unmarketable, outspoken, and rather unremarkable as a chef… (though, I still thank him for my cassoulet recipe, based on his, which includes puréed pig skin that has simmered with beans… It is magical… I digress…). For that, I loved and admired him in particular…

He is gone now. I already miss knowing that I will never meet him in person, nor see him discovering anything new, nor hear that beautiful baritone voice, with perfect timing and inflection… He made stories come to life unlike anyone I’ve ever heard.

I will never comprehend how the path of his life ended where and how it did. Suicide is ugly and strange… It leaves me with wonder if it is best to distance oneself, lest you wind up in a similar place, thinking the same thought of finality. I can not imagine. It is a recipe I don’t want to ever comprehend.

It isn’t mine to comprehend, only to feel grateful thoughts over. He opened doors to myself, introduced ideas into the lexicon of thought that so many people lost over the years… That is a beautiful life.

Rest In Peace, Anthony. You were the ultimate cheese course, and the perfect snifter of the very finest port I’ve ever had…


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